London Grid for Learning Child Bereavement UK

LGfL Case studies

Examples of how these resources have impacted positively on schools

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Talking about death and grief in advance of experiencing both - Fielding Primary School

Fielding Primary School is a large Primary School in Ealing, West London. The school’s learning mentor Narinder Reehal, had previous experience of working with Child Bereavement Uk, but the Year 5 class teacher, Ellen Watson, had no prior experience teaching bereavement with primary age school children.

"Grief can hit children or adults at any moment in time, often unexpectedly. It's a tough topic to deal with within a school setting. Teachers need the support of high quality materials so that they can get into conversation, talk about tough things and hear what pupils are saying and thinking."

Pete Dunmall Headteacher

Why is important to focus on bereavement with children in school?

The resource Having honest conversations about death and grief was used with a Year 5 class to develop their understanding ability to talk about death and grief.

"Going into conversations about death can be quite intimidating, especially when we want to make sure our children are happy and safe. and feel that way. So you know, when you're opening this kind of box that it might make children feel sad or maybe a bit uncomfortable. But it was really helpful for me to see the kind of language I should be using because I think it's helped children feel more comfortable"

Ellen Watson Year 5 Teacher

The senior leadership team recognise the value of incorporating teaching about bereavement as an essential part of the RSHE curriculum and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing for children, staff and the wider school community. The outcome was that children in the class felt happier, more confident and more positive about death and understood that death is in fact, part of life for us all.

"I've seen from the children that they feel more calm when talking about death, they feel more ready if they were to experience a death in their life, of a loved one. They feel like they know who they can talk to and are not as worried about how they should feel after the death of someone they know. They also have developed some ways of remembering people who've died and how to celebrate their life, as opposed to only being really sad"

Ellen Watson Year 5 Teacher

What impact have the resources had on the children?

Managing the impact of a young child’s bereavement - Doddinghurst Infants School

"We have been managing a very challenging situation with a 4 year that came to our school soon after the child’s father died in distressing circumstances.

The behaviour of the child was significantly affected by the situation at home as the family tried to come to terms with the loss.

The partnership between LGfL and Child Bereavement UK was very helpful in supporting us at school. The LGfL Curriculum Team promptly responded to my request for help and talked me through all their resources and which elements from each resource might offer the best support for different elements of the challenges which were presenting at both school and home.

In addition, the resources signposted to the support available at Child Bereavement was another important ingredient of gaining better understanding of how to support the child and the family.

We attended CBUK online training support and used the LGfL bereavement toolkit in combination to develop a strategy to help not just staff in school, but at home as well. The clarity and insights provided were pitched so that we were able to quickly develop our understanding and provide appropriate support, confidently to help the family in a difficult situation."

Jacqui Cunningham, Doddinghurst Infants School, Essex

How we managed a sudden death - Leading Learning Trust

"We had a bereavement within our school community with a member of staff who died suddenly after no illness. The other situation we had to manage was some very sad news with regards to a child which hit the school community very suddenly. A lot of staff were very taken aback by the news, and it was extremely difficult. It was a horrible, horrible situation to be in, and probably the first time a lot of us have ever been in that sort of situation and hopefully the last time we'll ever have to be in that situation."

Abid Patel, IT Director, Leading Learning Trust

"I cannot stress the usefulness of the resources being so clearly laid out and how needed it is for all schools to be able to tap into something that will help them through some really horrible circumstances and hopefully get them through and move on to the other side."

Abid Patel, IT Director, Leading Learning Trust

How did you manage the bereavement at school?

"I think just the presentation of the resources that you see on the LGfL sites, the way it's all laid out, the visualisation of those resources are absolutely key because it's what is needed at that difficult time. Having an approachable resource that you can then tap into, to get the guidance as to how to address these key areas every step of the way is absolutely invaluable."

Abid Patel, IT Director, Leading Learning Trust

What Advice would you give to others?